35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

Started Mar 26, 2018 | Questions
cgomez
cgomez Junior Member • Posts: 40
35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens
1

;tldr Talk me out of purchasing the high end Sony 35mm 1.4 lens.

I currently have the Zeiss 55mm 1.8, the 24-105 G lens and the 28mm f/2 lens. The 28mm rarely gets used because if I'm going to pick two lens for a trip, it's going to be the more versatile 24-105 and the 55mm because of its tried and true output.

I'm interested in a shallow DOF and some of the stylistic advantages that a f/1.4 lens offers and am considering the 35mm Distagon model. Putting aside the inconsistent build quality — is this a worthwhile addition to my lens rotation?

My concerns are that that it is large and costly. I don't mind the size of the 24-105 as a travel/walking around lens, so the 35mm 1.4 isn't that huge by comparison, but it is large for a prime, especially one that I'm most curious about for its use in street photography. And then there's cost: I don't mind that it's up there in price given the limited age and variety of FE lenses and that its performance is impressive, but the upcoming Sigma lens at half the price are tempting.

With that said, with Sigma embracing full frame E-mount, what's the consensus on that vs. the 35mm 1.4 ZA?

Thanks for any feedback. Trying to put the brakes on GAS and I'm not one to buy something when I'm not almost certain I'll keep it.

 cgomez's gear list:cgomez's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 70-200 F4 Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 +2 more
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Irvz Regular Member • Posts: 117
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

Don't get either if you dont need it for work! I personally would go for the Sigma 35 when it comes out natively for E-mount, or if i can score a really cheap Canon version since i already have the mc-11. Have you looked at the Samyang/Rokinon 35mm f/1.4? It's even cheaper than the Sigma...

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shootorrun Forum Member • Posts: 76
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

Irvz wrote:

Have you looked at the Samyang/Rokinon 35mm f/1.4? It's even cheaper than the Sigma...

Agree with this -- check out the Sa/Ro 35/1.4. I tested one against the Sony and thought it was a very nice lens. That copy was a touch warmer than Sony. It had slightly less reliable autofocus in low light than the Sony, but the difference wasn't major. A little noise from AF motor, but outside of a very quiet room, I never heard it. IMO, $700 U.S. is a great deal for it.

Roland Schulz Contributing Member • Posts: 716
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

I´m in the same situation but I´m primary doing video so the Zeiss will be the lens to go since the others don´t support AF-C in videomode (not sure with the native Sigma FE, but the MC11 doesn´t do video AF-C with the 35 1.4 Sigma nor the 35 1.4L II Canon).

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noggin2k1
noggin2k1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,715
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

Critical sharpness vs rendering & bokeh.

The Zeiss is still very sharp, much like the Sigma won't have offensive rendering - it just comes down to what quality you want from this purchase.

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Scrollop Contributing Member • Posts: 813
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens
1

You've probably read a few of the discussions about these lenses.

I'd say:

If your budget is low, get the Saymyang.

If you want the sharpest images, then [it's a tossup between the Sigma, though a good copy of the Sony is very sharp. If you take 10 copies of each lens the Sigma will be slighly sharper, according to MTF charts.

If you want the nicest rendering, get the Sony. The sigma bokeh is not pleasing. I love the Sony; it's my favorite and go-to lens. The OOC photos barely need editing. It's a marvel (just shame about the QC, though sigma QC is similar to Sony's according to the lensrentals writeup, I believe).

If I had to take one lens for any trip it would be the Sony 35mm 1.4.

tn1krr Senior Member • Posts: 1,318
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

Scrollop wrote:

You've probably read a few of the discussions about these lenses.

I'd say:

If your budget is low, get the Saymyang.

If you want the sharpest images, then [it's a tossup between the Sigma, though a good copy of the Sony is very sharp. If you take 10 copies of each lens the Sigma will be slighly sharper, according to MTF charts.

Could you point to a sensible real-life MTF test that says these are a tossup? I've never seen these two even very close.

If you look at lensrentals test the best Sony you can find has hard time matching the a below the average Sigma. If you take averages from sample sets Sigma is way ahead and it is not even very close. Even Roger's commentary that is usually very measured is quite harsh here.

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpness-bench-tests/

 tn1krr's gear list:tn1krr's gear list
Sony a7R IV Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 +5 more
HFLM Senior Member • Posts: 1,976
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens
3

tn1krr wrote:

Scrollop wrote:

You've probably read a few of the discussions about these lenses.

I'd say:

If your budget is low, get the Saymyang.

If you want the sharpest images, then [it's a tossup between the Sigma, though a good copy of the Sony is very sharp. If you take 10 copies of each lens the Sigma will be slighly sharper, according to MTF charts.

Could you point to a sensible real-life MTF test that says these are a tossup? I've never seen these two even very close.

If you look at lensrentals test the best Sony you can find has hard time matching the a below the average Sigma. If you take averages from sample sets Sigma is way ahead and it is not even very close. Even Roger's commentary that is usually very measured is quite harsh here.

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpness-bench-tests/

At some time I had the Sony and Sigma for Nikon. At 100% the Sigma was a tiny bit sharper, however in real life, it was hard to see a difference and find fault with the Sony at all. I really like the 35/1.4, esp. its excellent AF. For me it is a great lens.

Right now, I use the 35/1.4ii for Canon, too. Again the Canon is a but sharper if you stage a test scene. However, as we use those lenses at weddings for people, you won't see a difference in real life 99% of the time. If we pair the 35/1.4ii with the 5div then the A7riii and FE35 will always result in superior sharpness downsized to 30MP, owing to the 42MP and lack of AA filter.

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(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 8,068
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

cgomez wrote:

With that said, with Sigma embracing full frame E-mount, what's the consensus on that vs. the 35mm 1.4 ZA?

Totally different lenses. Sigma ART is super sharp but has questionable bokeh. The Zeiss ZA has the most beautiful bokeh you can get, but wide open not so sharp and you may be unlucky and get a decentered copy of that lens.

Personally, I am praying for Batis 35/2

MrT-Man Senior Member • Posts: 1,486
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

BBQue wrote:

The Zeiss ZA has the most beautiful bokeh you can get, but wide open not so sharp and you may be unlucky and get a decentered copy of that lens.

Personally, I am praying for Batis 35/2

I disagree, the Sony 35/1.4 is actually quite sharp wide open, *if* you have a good copy (speaking as someone who has gone through multiple copies).

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Sony a7R II Sony FE 35mm F1.4 Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 18mm F2.8 +6 more
Dave Sanders Senior Member • Posts: 2,610
My experience different than others...
2

...I found the Sony had questionable bokeh. Onion-like structures and severe bokeh fringing. The one I tested was also decentered. I bought the Sigma. It was sharper in the middle and a lot sharper on the edges and it's bokeh was better. Not the best, but good, certainly better than the Sony. Those reporting amazing bokeh on the Sony clearly had a different experience than me.

-- hide signature --

Dave Sanders

tn1krr Senior Member • Posts: 1,318
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens
1

HFLM wrote:

tn1krr wrote:

Scrollop wrote:

You've probably read a few of the discussions about these lenses.

I'd say:

If your budget is low, get the Saymyang.

If you want the sharpest images, then [it's a tossup between the Sigma, though a good copy of the Sony is very sharp. If you take 10 copies of each lens the Sigma will be slighly sharper, according to MTF charts.

Could you point to a sensible real-life MTF test that says these are a tossup? I've never seen these two even very close.

If you look at lensrentals test the best Sony you can find has hard time matching the a below the average Sigma. If you take averages from sample sets Sigma is way ahead and it is not even very close. Even Roger's commentary that is usually very measured is quite harsh here.

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpness-bench-tests/

At some time I had the Sony and Sigma for Nikon. At 100% the Sigma was a tiny bit sharper, however in real life, it was hard to see a difference and find fault with the Sony at all. I really like the 35/1.4, esp. its excellent AF. For me it is a great lens.

Right now, I use the 35/1.4ii for Canon, too. Again the Canon is a but sharper if you stage a test scene. However, as we use those lenses at weddings for people, you won't see a difference in real life 99% of the time. If we pair the 35/1.4ii with the 5div then the A7riii and FE35 will always result in superior sharpness downsized to 30MP, owing to the 42MP and lack of AA filter.

I have no problem with any of that but when one uses term MTF and QA statistics they should have a source, if not those words lose their meaning and become equal to "I think". FE 35/1.4 on a 42 MP Sony body can achieve sharpness that was not possible in any FF body with any 35 mm lens some years ago, but that or it's AF performance (which I do not doubt at all, I did not like my MC-11 + Art 35/1.4 AF too much) have nothing to do with it's optical performance or QA issues when compared to competition.

I'm a pixel peeper and have tried to get myself to like lenses like FE 24-70/4 OSS that would be nice & somewhat compact normal zoom, but it's lack of optical performance on a 36 or 42 MP Sony was very very obvious when I tested it compared to other lenses I had at that time. The fact that I've seen a huge pile of excellent/stellar pictures taken with one, many them way above my skill level does not make that lens any better optically.

 tn1krr's gear list:tn1krr's gear list
Sony a7R IV Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 +5 more
cgomez
OP cgomez Junior Member • Posts: 40
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

shootorrun wrote:

Irvz wrote:

Have you looked at the Samyang/Rokinon 35mm f/1.4? It's even cheaper than the Sigma...

Agree with this -- check out the Sa/Ro 35/1.4. I tested one against the Sony and thought it was a very nice lens. That copy was a touch warmer than Sony. It had slightly less reliable autofocus in low light than the Sony, but the difference wasn't major. A little noise from AF motor, but outside of a very quiet room, I never heard it. IMO, $700 U.S. is a great deal for it.

I haven't strayed outside the Sony first party lens ecosystem and have in the past heard of suspect build quality and other drawbacks of Samyang and Rokinon lenses. And they don't seem to have many reliable reviews on B&H or Amazon.

How much of a compromise on AF performance would you suggest these have?

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Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 70-200 F4 Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 +2 more
shootorrun Forum Member • Posts: 76
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

cgomez wrote:

shootorrun wrote:

Irvz wrote:

Have you looked at the Samyang/Rokinon 35mm f/1.4? It's even cheaper than the Sigma...

Agree with this -- check out the Sa/Ro 35/1.4. I tested one against the Sony and thought it was a very nice lens. That copy was a touch warmer than Sony. It had slightly less reliable autofocus in low light than the Sony, but the difference wasn't major. A little noise from AF motor, but outside of a very quiet room, I never heard it. IMO, $700 U.S. is a great deal for it.

I haven't strayed outside the Sony first party lens ecosystem and have in the past heard of suspect build quality and other drawbacks of Samyang and Rokinon lenses. And they don't seem to have many reliable reviews on B&H or Amazon.

How much of a compromise on AF performance would you suggest these have?

A very minimal compromise. I was really trying to find one, and low light AF hit rate was it, but it was close - maybe 3 misses out of 40 vs 1 out of 40 on Sony. Something like that.

Honestly, if I hadn't found a good deal on a good copy of the Sony, I would have kept the Rokinon and not thought twice about it. I really enjoyed shooting with it, and when I first shot with it, I thought I'd be keeping it. But then I found the Sony, and given that 35mm is my favorite focal length, I decided the price gap was close enough that I went with the Sony.

I would suggest buying from a place where you can easily return, just in case of an issue. I like Amazon and Adorama because they make it easy to return imperfect gear. I would expect you'd get a good copy, and I expect you'll really enjoy shooting with it.

Dan_168 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,673
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

cgomez wrote:

With that said, with Sigma embracing full frame E-mount, what's the consensus on that vs. the 35mm 1.4 ZA?

I am Sigma Art owner and have tried the FE 35 1.4 twice and retuned them twice, due to de-Center issue. However, I did use my friend's "good copy" so I do know what this lens is capable of.

if I can get a 'good copy", I would prefer to use the Sony 35 for portrait and Sigma 35 Art for landscape. The Sony have better ( smotther) Bokeh than the Sigma, but has lots of fringing too, but the Sigma is significantly sharper center and edge, therefore I would use them for different application. But now my solution is the CAnon 35 F1.4 L II, it's even sharper than the Sigma and has great bokeh at the same time, so it's the combination of Sigma and FE 35.

jameszhan
jameszhan Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

Dan_168 wrote:

cgomez wrote:

With that said, with Sigma embracing full frame E-mount, what's the consensus on that vs. the 35mm 1.4 ZA?

I am Sigma Art owner and have tried the FE 35 1.4 twice and retuned them twice, due to de-Center issue. However, I did use my friend's "good copy" so I do know what this lens is capable of.

if I can get a 'good copy", I would prefer to use the Sony 35 for portrait and Sigma 35 Art for landscape. The Sony have better ( smotther) Bokeh than the Sigma, but has lots of fringing too, but the Sigma is significantly sharper center and edge, therefore I would use them for different application. But now my solution is the CAnon 35 F1.4 L II, it's even sharper than the Sigma and has great bokeh at the same time, so it's the combination of Sigma and FE 35.

How did you go about checking if a lens is decentered or not? Is there a way to check it without using test chart and stuff like that?

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Sony a7 III Sony FE 28mm F2 Tamron 17-28mm F2.8 Di III RXD
Dan_168 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,673
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

jameszhan wrote:

Dan_168 wrote:

cgomez wrote:

With that said, with Sigma embracing full frame E-mount, what's the consensus on that vs. the 35mm 1.4 ZA?

I am Sigma Art owner and have tried the FE 35 1.4 twice and retuned them twice, due to de-Center issue. However, I did use my friend's "good copy" so I do know what this lens is capable of.

if I can get a 'good copy", I would prefer to use the Sony 35 for portrait and Sigma 35 Art for landscape. The Sony have better ( smotther) Bokeh than the Sigma, but has lots of fringing too, but the Sigma is significantly sharper center and edge, therefore I would use them for different application. But now my solution is the CAnon 35 F1.4 L II, it's even sharper than the Sigma and has great bokeh at the same time, so it's the combination of Sigma and FE 35.

How did you go about checking if a lens is decentered or not? Is there a way to check it without using test chart and stuff like that?

There is all kind of lens test chart you can get for that purpose, but I am not lens tester so I just simply mount the camera on the tripod and tape a newspaper on the wall and  use it as my target, the key is to make sure your are perpendicular  to the plane or your result will be really misleading. And in my case, I didn't even need that test, when I go shoot some real world pic I can see the tree on one side is significantly softer than the other even at stop down aperture, you would think the F8/F11 DOF will take care of it, it's really that bad on the one I got. I actually saw the weird result from my real world picture first then makes me to go back to do this " newspaper test" at home.

(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 8,068
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

jameszhan wrote:

Dan_168 wrote:

cgomez wrote:

With that said, with Sigma embracing full frame E-mount, what's the consensus on that vs. the 35mm 1.4 ZA?

I am Sigma Art owner and have tried the FE 35 1.4 twice and retuned them twice, due to de-Center issue. However, I did use my friend's "good copy" so I do know what this lens is capable of.

if I can get a 'good copy", I would prefer to use the Sony 35 for portrait and Sigma 35 Art for landscape. The Sony have better ( smotther) Bokeh than the Sigma, but has lots of fringing too, but the Sigma is significantly sharper center and edge, therefore I would use them for different application. But now my solution is the CAnon 35 F1.4 L II, it's even sharper than the Sigma and has great bokeh at the same time, so it's the combination of Sigma and FE 35.

How did you go about checking if a lens is decentered or not? Is there a way to check it without using test chart and stuff like that?

Yes, it is called Gletscherbruch Test.

Alantkh Regular Member • Posts: 340
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens
1

I had the sigma 35mm on a d750 and Sony 35mm on a a7riii together and shot dozens of frames side by side fit comparison.

my Sony 35mm resolves much more but this could be due to the higher pixel count on the a7riii and sharpness is definately not an issue. The MAIN issue with the Sony is purple and green fringing u see at branches in front of a bright background. I am not sure how sigma does it but the is virtually no Color fringing on the sigma. The Color fringing when it happens is Super obvious on the Sony but easily fixed or reduced in ACR.

i did look at the Bokeh on side by side shot and found the Bokeh on the Sony a bit better but it’s really subjective. I kept the Sony mainly because it focuses very well and the Color fringing is not a deal breaker but it annoys me sometimes....

frankly focusing accuracy is the biggest problem I have as a missed focused shot is not recoverable... I am glad to say that Sony is better than my d750 with the sigma 35mm

andrei_says Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: 35mm 1.4 ZA Lens vs. Sigma 1.4 Art Lens

I am considering buying the Sony.

Given the issue with QC, what is a good store which would make potential repeated returns easy? What process did you use to find your good copy?

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